Monday, October 13, 2008

Calling All Tree Citizens

There's an innovative group in Los Angeles called TreePeople that's got my attention. They are focused on restoring and maintaining urban forests and have community efforts aimed at educating and motivating local citizens.

Why trees? The group has a clear and easy list for understanding why you should care about trees. Here are some of those tree benefits:
  • Reduction in greenhouse gases, which reduces global warming

  • Cleaner air and more oxygen, which means a healthier environment for your family

  • Heat absorption -- for most areas of the U.S., we are looking to reduce heat. Trees absorb heat from concrete and asphalt and also give us significant shade for our homes and buildings

  • Food production -- trees give us and our surrounding wildlife, including birds, many fruits and nuts

  • Psychological benefits -- trees reduce stress, help to calm, increase your attention; it's the greenscape that our bodies and brains are craving
Additionally, according to the Center for Urban Forest Research in Davis, California "A large front yard tree can intercept 760 gallons of rainfall in its crown, thereby reducing runoff of polluted stormwater and flooding."

Ways that TreePeople gets people interested and involved in urban forestry --
  • Assistance in organizing a neighborhood tree planting event

  • A calendar of events where you can simply go and plant trees for a day -- you get exercise, fresh air, social benefits, and help the earth

  • Organized volunteer days where you go and take care of the young trees that have been planted as part of the TreePeople programs

  • Workshops where people can learn about trees and how to take care of them

  • Community leadership opportunities

If you live around L.A., you can check out this group. If you don't look for a similar group in your area, perhaps in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation or referred to you by your local Cooperative Extension Office or city's beautification department.

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